With just three days to go for the Dussehra rallies on October 5, both factions of the Shiv Sena led by former chief minister Uddhav Thackeray and his successor Eknath Shinde began their preparations for the big event on Sunday.
While the Thackeray-led Shiv Sena is holding its annual Dussehra rally at the historic Shivaji Park ground in Dadar, which has been the traditional venue of the party rally since 1966, the breakaway Shinde-led faction of Sena will hold a rally at the MMRDA Ground, Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC).
An order by the Bombay High Court granting it permission to hold its annual Dussehra rally at the iconic Shivaji Park ground in Dadar had come as a shot in the arm for the Uddhav Sena amid a bitter power tussle with the rival Shinde faction. Both the factions had been vying for the Shivaji Park ground to hold their Dussehra rallies.
On the tussle for the Shivaji Park ground, Chief Minister Shinde told reporters on Sunday that his Sena would have got the Shivaji Park ground in central Mumbai as the venue for its Dussehra rally had he personally intervened in the matter as chief minister. “Had I intervened as chief minister, we would have got Shivaji Park for the rally. But as CM, it is my duty to ensure peace and harmony. So we settled for the MMRDA ground at the Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC),” he said.
Meanwhile, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation gave possession of the ground to the Uddhav Sena on Sunday, thus enabling them to start preparations for the Dussehra rally.
The Shinde-led faction, too, started preparing for their rally at the BKC ground of MMRDA. Chief Minister Eknath Shinde visited the MMRDA ground on Sunday to take stock of the ongoing preparations and was seen giving instructions to party workers and office-bearers. Shinde said his faction is carrying forward the legacy of Sena founder Bal Thackeray and lakhs of Shiv Sainiks across the state will mass for the Dussehra rally at BKC. He also urged his supporters to come out and listen to the thoughts of a ‘staunch Shiv Sainik’ who espouses and follows Hindutva.
“A grand rally is being organised and I came to review the ongoing preparations. Lakhs of Shiv Sainiks from all corners of the state will come for the gathering and, hence, I personally reviewed the work so that they do not face any inconvenience,” Shinde said.